“It was a watershed moment,” said Concert Committee Chair Sky Stallbaumer ’12 of last spring’s widely criticized Matisyahu concert. “That was when we knew there was a serious issue with the way things were working.”
But the concert booking community seems to be making reparations to the student body in the form of a packed fall concert lineup. During a forum at which students aired their grievances with the Concert Committee and its parent body, the Student Budget Committee (SBC), committee members learned of student dissatisfaction with the previous years’ empty September calendars.
“Over the summers, we had a hold on funding, and couldn’t do much,” said SBC chair Cameron Couch ’13. “We realized that if we formed a summer committee, we could start booking shows in June and fill up September.”
They did just that, and the fledgling Summer Concert Committee, comprised of Stallbaumer, Couch, and Concert Committee member Chelsie Green ’14, put together an impressive September lineup. The first week of classes alone finds garage bashers Jeff the Brotherhood and fuzzy folk duo Wye Oak both playing at Eclectic, on Tuesday and Saturday nights, respectively. The weeks ahead include performances by critically lauded folk-freaks Dodos, jangle-pop revivalists Generationals, ambient producer Kodomo, and reverb-heavy duo Lands and Peoples. It’s a far cry from last year, when Bear in Heaven, the first Concert Committee sponsored act, didn’t play until October.
“That sets the tone for a stagnant year,” Stallbaumer said. “Hopefully this year everybody will be really excited, and people will realize that there’s so much we can do with the money we have.”
Stallbaumer said he was frustrated that, in general, only expensive campus concerts are widely attended.
“Last year, Titus Andronicus cost $3,000. Dr. Dog was upwards of $6,000. Those were great shows, and everyone had an awesome time, but they shouldn’t be the only thing that get people excited,” he said.
To demonstrate just how much the Concert Committee can accomplish on a tight budget, Stallbaumer organized “Bestival,” a festival slated to take place at Eclectic on Friday, Sept. 9, and featuring five genre-spanning New York performers.
“Hopefully, it will show students that you can book good music for cheap, and it’s not hard,” Stallbaumer said. “Not one of these acts is getting paid more than $300.”
In addition to all the other events sponsored by the Concert Committee, this week also includes a Concert Committee info session for students interested in booking bands for campus concerts. The committee hopes to get new students involved in bringing bands to the University that reflect the musical diversity of its students.
“It’s going to be a very different first semester,” Stallbaumer said. “Hopefully that will translate into a much more active and exciting year.”